Linguistics 001      Fall 2009     Homework 3      Due Mo 10/5

1. Pick any four consecutive lines from a favorite poem, and write them using the system discussed in the lecture on English pronunciation. These days, most standard word processing programs should be able to deal with IPA characters in the standard UTF-8 Unicode encoding, which is what you'll get by cutting and pasting from this interactive application for creating IPA strings.

Assume careful "dictionary" pronunciation of each word. You can use American pronunciations even if the poem's author clearly assumes British norms of pronunciation. If you decide to use British norms, make it clear that you're doing so.

Try to pick lines whose words you know, or use a dictionary to find the pronunciation of any words that you are not sure of.

2. Here is a link to an audio clip of the (Royal Shakespeare Company) actor Colin Hurley reading some fragments from Troilus and Cressida in (an attempt to approximate) the pronunciation of Shakespeare's own time. A transcript in modern standard orthography would be:

The plague of Greece upon thee, thou mongrel beef-witted lord!
... Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows ... scurvy lord!
I would thou didst itch from head to foot and I had the scratching of thee; I would make thee the loathsomest scab in Greece.

Among the words whose vowel sounds are different in this performance from the norms of modern British (or American) speech are "Greece" and "beef". Give the IPA for the modern pronuncation and for the pronunciation that Hurley uses.

Hurley also "drops the g" in "scratching". Give the IPA for his pronunciation and also for the version without "g-dropping". (Warning: as the scare quotes suggest, there is no [g] in any of the pronuncation options here.)

3. This audio clip would be transcribed in standard orthography as

And it was after that we became number one enemies. And you know, to this day, she just lives right about three-four blocks away from here, she walks right down through here and I ain't spoke to her. And that's been about twenty hears ago.

Try to transcribe the phrase "she walks right down through here and I ain't spoke to her" exactly as it's pronounced in this version.

It may help you to save the audio samples on your computer, and to use a computer program that allows you to select a short segment and listen to it over and over again carefully. Some easy-to-use free software of this kind that we can recommend:


A number of IPA tutorials are available on line, e.g. here, here and here.

Note on joint work: you're welcome to work together on this assignment, but if you do, increase the amount of work in (1) and (3) by the number of people doing the work. Thus if two of you cooperate, then in (1) you should transcribe 2x4=8 lines of poetry, and in (3) transcribe two phrases rather than one.

As usual, please indicate on all joint work who all the authors are.

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